A strong Mexican Grand Prix saw another point added to the Toro Rosso Honda total as Pierre climbed through the field from the back of the grid to finish tenth. A new power unit and gearbox meant Pierre started 20th at the Autodromo Hermanos Rodriguez, but the car had the pace to fight back through the field. Having started on hypersofts, a two-stop strategy worked well and Pierre fought his way through, with Brendon moving over to promote him to 11th before a late retirement for Daniel Ricciardo saw him pick up the final world championship point. Brendon suffered damaged tyres when fighting in the midfield on the opening lap and had to pit immediately, stopping only once more after that. With tyre wear high, Brendon was fighting Marcus Ericsson for 10th place before fading late on, with a five-second time penalty for a collision with Esteban Ocon seeing him finally classified 14th. The power unit performed well throughout the race, allowing both drivers to fight for the points at a venue that is tough on cars due to the altitude.
Pierre got a precious point today thanks to an aggressive drive that took him from last on the grid to tenth at the end. The result was partly down to his driving and partly the team’s good strategy. At a track that puts the PU under a lot of strain, we had a trouble free weekend which is a positive thing.
First of all, congratulations to Lewis for winning the Championship – another great achievement for him, and well done to Max! As for my race, it feels great to finish in the points. With the penalty, we started last on the grid in P20 so it was difficult to reach the top 10, but we managed to do it in the end; I’m really happy to get one point. It’s good for everybody in the team, especially after a couple of tough races. I felt good with the car, I had some great battles and the strategy was the right one so I think we did everything we could. It wasn’t an easy race; tyre management was a key factor today so you needed to be smart and push at the right time, staying focused and disciplined with your driving for the whole race to make these tyres last. We should be able start in our normal qualifying position in Brazil and Abu Dhabi, so we can fight hard and try to get our position back from Sauber.
I had a good start. It was a little bit of a mess going into Turn 4, a car pulled in front just before braking, I locked the brakes and flat spotted the Supersofts. Unfortunately, we had to pit on lap one and after that I effectively did a one stop race from there. I think it was a solid race with really strong tyre management. I defended heavily against Ocon, so it’s a shame I got a 5-second penalty when we made some contact. Without the damage and penalty from the contact I would have been P10, and without the flat spot on lap one we had the pace to be even further up. The pace this weekend is very encouraging but the final outcome a little disappointing.